With a 37-7 win over Akron Saturday, the 2012-2013 senior class surpassed last year’s seniors as the most winningest in NIU school history.
Last year’s seniors featured such standout players as MVP quarterback Chandler Harnish, second leading receiver Nathan Palmer, leading tailback rusher and scorer Jasmin Hopkins and a close to entire starting offensive line.
“It’s a talented team this year, we had a talented team last year,” said senior defensive end Sean Progar. “This year’s team may be even tighter than last years. Close with each other and coaches which helps us buy into what the coaches are telling us. Helps us execute come game day. It’s our family atmosphere that attributes to our winning. Guys really trust each other and want to do good for each other.”
This year’s senior class posted their 36th win as a group with a possible six games left on the season if they are able to go to the MAC Championship and a Bowl Game. Senior tight end and offensive leader Jason Schepler knows that while this is an honorable achievement, there is still one single goal.
“Winning the MAC championship last season was awesome,” Schepler said. “That’s our goal this year, is to win a MAC championship. Winning the most games in senior history is awesome, but we want that MAC championship.”
The fact remains, however, that with the current record already broken, and with multiple meaningful streaks still ongoing, this NIU senior class and team all have the chance to do something extremely significant.
“One of the things we put on our goal board is to leave a legacy,” Schepler said. “If we won out, it definitely would raise the bar for teams to come.”
Progar echoes similar sentiments to Schepler, but also knows that it’s important to not get too far ahead of themselves and take a common sportsman line of thinking.
“Definitely something we looked at,” Progar said. “We want to give next year’s class something to work towards. We want to get back to the MAC championship. We want to give that to the school, to the coaches and to each other. Not looking that far ahead yet. All those things happen if you take care of business practicing and preparing.”
While this senior class has no official recruitment ties with current head coach Dave Doeren, the amount of success experienced under his reign is not only due to him, but the people he has put in place, according to Schepler.
“I think he’s done a great job,” Schepler said. “He’s done a great job of getting everyone motivated. The staff that coach Doeren hired really does a great job; they’re great teachers as well as coaches.”